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If your book club is reading either of my books, I'd be happy to make an appearance. I love book clubs (as those of you who read my newsletter know) and I'd love to "travel" and attend yours virtually via Zoom or in-person (Southwest Virginia area). For a limited time, I'm also able to offer personalized signed bookplates to groups of ten or more.

Please click here to request a visit to your book club. 

Reading Group Guide: ONCE TWO SISTERS

  1. What are your expectations for a book about sisters? How did this novel meet or subvert them?

  2. An important aspect of the book is identity. How does Zoe try to leave her past behind? Can she simply start a new family or does her choice impact the way she interacts as a mother and a wife? What issues did she bring with her?

  3. Zoe and Ava take turns telling this story. Do you think they are reliable narrators? Do they remember things differently? How do they describe each other and how perceptive are they about themselves? 

  4. When Andrew tells Zoe that she’s like her parents because, “It’s not easy for you to talk about your feelings,” Zoe snaps back, “I’m nothing like them.” Why do you think the “Doctors Hallett” act the way they do? 

  5. Ava tells stories not just through her writing, but also in her life. What stories does she tell Zoe? What stories does she tell herself? What purpose do these stories serve?

  6. A key part of the mystery is the technique known as SERE: Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape. Do these words have any relevance to Ava and Zoe?

  7. As Zoe confronts her brother-in-law Glenn, Ava is thrown together with her ex-husband Beckett. How do the sisters navigate these fraught relationships? Do their perceptions of their exes change over the course of the novel? 

  8. The nature of Zoe and Ava’s relationship is at the core of the book. At first it seems they are complete opposites. As the story unfolds, can you see similarities between the two? What do you think made their relationship as bad as it became?  

  9. What’s the difference between a story and a lie? Is Zoe justified in any of her lies? What effects do her lies have on her marriage? On her perception of herself?

  10. The last scene of the book is in Zoe’s words. Why do you think this is? 

  11. What do you think drove Cristina to her actions? Do you see any similarities or differences in the way Ava and Zoe responded to their upbringing?

  12. Near the end of the book, Ava thinks, “Not every story has a happy ending.” Do you think this one does?

Reading Group Guide: YOU CAN NEVER TELL

  1. In the first transcript of the podcast Crime to Chat, Helen says, “This is a story about friends.” How does making friends as an adult differ from making friends as a child? Do you think women and men navigate friendships differently? Are there examples in the book that come to mind?

  2. Kacy’s story is interspersed with transcripts from a fictional true-crime podcast. Did this add to your experience of the book? Why do you think true crime is so popular?

  3. An important aspect of the book is identity. How does Kacy try to reinvent herself in Texas? Do you find this relatable? What works and what doesn’t? Did your opinion of Kacy evolve over the novel? 

  4. Kacy tells Lena, “Good friends are the only ones worth keeping.” But friendships take time. Kacy’s closest friends in Texas are Rahmia, Elizabeth, Alondra, and Lena. What do each bring to the relationship….and what do they bring out in Kacy? How does she figure out who she can count on?

  5. How would you describe Michael and Kacy’s marriage? Were there moments where you thought their relationship might be in jeopardy? What do you think is essential to a successful long-term relationship? 

  6. The identity of the killers is revealed relatively early in the book. Did you find this killed the suspense? What moments heightened or lessened the tension for you? 

  7. Pivotal moments in this novel might include Kacy throwing a cup in the bathroom, Kacy and Michael in the nursery closet, Kacy leaving her parents and Grace at the police station. If she’d made different choices at these moments, how might her life be different? Are there other moments in the novel that strike you as pivotal? Did you recognize pivotal moments in your own life when they were happening? 

  8. How did you feel at the end of this novel? What do you think the future looks like for Kacy and Michael?

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